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Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The historic range of E. davidianus was northeastern and east-central China (Nowak, 1999). Truly wild specimens disappeared from the area sometime around 200 A.D., but because a captive herd was maintaind in the Imperial Hunting Park, the species has survived.

    Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )

Morphology

    Morphology
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    E. davidianus has reddish to deep reddish brown summer pelage with a medial black stripe down the shoulders. Winter pelage is grayish brown with darker areas on flanks and throat. Both sexes have a dark tail tassel on their relatively long tail. The skin between the hooves is naked (Nowak ,1999).

    Pere David's deer range from 1,830 to 2,160 mm from head to the base of the tail. The tail adds another 220-355 mm. Male E. davidianus weigh about 214 kg and females about 159 kg. Males have antlers that are shed annually in December or January (Nowak, 1999). New antlers immediately begin growing and reach full size by May (Huffman, 2001). Antlers are around 55-80 cm along the curve and fork close to the skin (Harper, 1945). The long hind prong is very straight, and the front prong branches off with the prongs facing backwards. Males also have a maned throat (Nowak,1999).

    Immature E. davidianus are spotted white with an average birth weight of about 11 kg (Nowak ,1999).

    Range length: 1,830 to 2,160 mm.

    Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

    Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; ornamentation

    Average mass: 186500 g.

Habitat

    Habitat
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Historically, E. davidianus were probably found in the lowlands of China, swampy areas and reed-covered marshlands (Nowak, 1999). Today they survive in the wild in two national parks: Beijing Milu Park and the Dafeng Milu Natural Reserve. This species can also be found in captivity in many zoos around the world.

    Habitat Regions: temperate

    Wetlands: marsh ; swamp

Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    E. davidianus are herbivores and their diet consists mainly of grasses. During summer they will eat many aquatic plants (Nowak, 1999).

    Plant Foods: leaves

    Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

Associations

    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    It is difficult to assess the ecosystem role of such a rare animal. Historically, at least, these deer were probably important in maintaining habitats through their foraging behavior. They probably also provided food to predators.

    Associations
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Because there are no real wild populations of this species, information on predation is not available.

Behavior

    Behavior
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

Life Cycle

    Life Cycle
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    See Reproduction.

Life Expectancy

    Life Expectancy
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The maximum longevity record is 23 years and 3 months. Average life span is about 18 years (Huffman, 2001).

    Range lifespan
    Status: captivity:
    23 (high) years.

    Average lifespan
    Status: captivity:
    18 years.

    Average lifespan
    Status: wild:
    18.0 years.

    Average lifespan
    Status: wild:
    23.3 years.

Reproduction

    Reproduction
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Males engage in mock combat and real fights during the rut. A male joins a group of females which he thus defends from other males. Stags lose weight rapidly because they don't eat while they defend the harem, and they are succeeded by new stags as the rut continues. After leaving the harem, the male begins to feed again, and will quickly regain his weight.

    Mating System: polygynous

    Sexual maturity for females is about 2 years and 3 months (Nowak, 1999), and males mature about a year later. About two months before breeding season in June, males will leave the herd. They will rejoin a harem of females and fast during the rut. When fighting, males will use antlers, teeth, and will even rise up on hind legs and box with their front legs. Females have an approximately 20 day long estrous cycle (Nowak, 1999), and within a breeding season can have multiple cycles. The gestation period is about 280 days and one or two fawns are born in April or May (Jiang et al., 2001). Fawns weigh about 11 kg at birth. After the rut, males will leave the herd again for another two months and begin feeding (Brinklow,1993).

    Development in species has not been reported. The gestation period is unusually long, however, and an embryonic diapause may occur (Nowak, 1999).

    Breeding season: Young are born in April and May.

    Average number of offspring: 1-2.

    Average gestation period: 9.33 months.

    Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 27 months.

    Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 27 months.

    Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

    Average birth mass: 11000 g.

    Average gestation period: 288 days.

    Average number of offspring: 1.

    Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male:
    1186 days.

    Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female:
    821 days.

    As in all mammals, the female provides the young with milk.

    Parental Investment: female parental care

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    E. davidianus is critically endangered by the IUCN.

    CITES: no special status

    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: extinct in the wild

Benefits

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    None cited

    Benefits
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    This species is farmed for food and can also be found in hunting parks.

    Positive Impacts: ecotourism

Other Articles

    Untitled
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    The name that the Chinese gave these deer was "sze pu shiang". This means “none of the four.” The deer supposedly has a neck like a camel, a tail similar to that of a donkey, antlers of a deer, and hooves similar to a cow. However it didn’t resemble any of them more than the other (Harper, 1945).

    In 1865, Père Armand David, a French missionary, discovered the deer in the Imperial Hunting Park (Nan Hai-tsu Park) near Peking they were believed to be the only surviving members of the species. About a dozen individuals from this group were imported to Europe. In 1894, a flood destroyed the Imperial Hunting Park and much of the herd was killed. Those that did survive were hunted by starving citizens during the Boxer Revolution in 1900. The Duke of Bedford gathered the remaining breeding population of 18 deer at his abbey in Europe and began to increase to population. During WWII the herd was moved because of the fear of extinction due to bombing.

    In 1985 Pere David's Deer was reintroduced to the Beijing Milu Park and a second group was released in 1986 in a site north of Shanghi called the Dafeng Milu Natural Reserve (Huffman, 2001). In 1997 an estimated 671 deer were surviving in the wild in China (Jiang et al., 2000).